Is Sharing Really Caring?
By Fotini Koronidou
There isn’t a student of ours who hasn’t gone home saying to other people “Sharing is caring” and it is indeed a phrase that we do use a lot in our schools. But why is “Sharing is Caring” so important for preschool children? And, more importantly, is sharing really always caring?
The meaning of “Sharing is Caring”
Sharing means giving to those in need, to help improve their wellbeing. Sharing leads to happiness and fulfilment, and it is one of the most essential characteristics of our schools. We love giving back to our community and through our charity and donation efforts our students experience the pleasure of the fact that sharing is indeed caring.
It teaches children to be considerate and they experience it in a very impressive and heart filling ways: donating old toys, books or clothes to other less fortunate teaches them the pleasure of giving.
The phrase through the eyes of our students
For our little friends, the phrase “sharing is caring” has lots of different meanings.
“Sharing is caring” is sharing feelings.
The phrase is developing children’s emotional intelligence and allowing them to recognize, accept and share what they feel. The phrase reminds them to be empathetic and be always willing to offer their comfort to a friend who needs it. “Sharing is caring” sows the seeds of empathy and helps in building social skills required for a well-adjusted adult.
“Sharing is caring” develops critical thinking.
It allows young children to listen and consider what a peer needs. It gives them the opportunity to be understanding and realise the necessary role of being considerate towards others. By sharing ideas and thoughts children have the chance to work together as a community, to help each other find the best solution to a problem that they might come across.
“Sharing is caring” means what it actually says: to share!
Children learn to be fair and welcome others to join them by sharing the class resources and playing together. It encourages social skills by teaching them to co-operate and to participate in whole class discussions and share ideas. It also means turn taking as they learn to wait patiently for their turn. The values of patience and tolerance go hand in hand with “sharing is caring”.
Having said all of this, however… is sharing always caring?
I am now going to challenge what I have mentioned above and explain why “sharing is not always caring”.
Children of very young ages find it difficult to understand the concept of sharing and how it really works. Sharing is a developmental milestone that children will reach with the help of their trusted grown ups, whether that be their teachers, their parents or their guardians.
Children, very famously, learn through exploring and playing and, very often, they do not want a friend to interrupt them and join their play: they want to play alone. They may need to focus to achieve their targets and they do not appreciate any distractions from any of their friends. And this is absolutely acceptable.
Sometimes children do not want to share even if they know what sharing is. They are not finished with their toy and they are not ready to move on to something else and while “Sharing is caring” means spreading joy, turn taking, developing empathy, to be polite, to be a proper citizen of this community and to be respectful towards others, this does not mean it should be forced upon them. It is our belief that children should have the right to say ‘no’, essentially asking from other people, to respect their choices, their space, their rights and to listen to them.
Therefore, when ‘sharing is caring’ is forced… it stops being caring.
By Fotini Koronidou
Head Teacher, Kidsperience Preschool